You can view the PowerPoint presentation for this talk here.
This talk was recorded at the Institute
for Critical Animal Studies Oceania 2017 Conference in Melbourne. You can find
out more information about this conference here: http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/oceania-conference/
listen to other talks from this conference here.
Below is further information about the
talk from the conference booklet, available here: http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/booklet/
‘They’re calling me a terrorist’ (but they probably
shouldn’t): The Social
Construction of “Eco-Terrorism”
This talk will use a sociological lens to investigate the
socially constructed nature of terrorism generally and “eco-terrorism”
specifically. Socially constructed refers to being determined by society,
rather than being an objective fact. This is not to deny the existence of
violence but rather the social construction of terrorism means that some acts
of political violence are not labelled as terrorism, while other non-violent
acts receive the label. Terrorism is not socially constructed by society as a whole
equally but certain groups have more power than others in labelling acts as
terrorism, such as the state and corporations. The focus of this talk will be
on the social construction of “eco-terrorism”, which refers to acts which break
the law on behalf of the environment and/or non-human animals and are widely
labelled as “terrorism”. Most of the analysis will focus on such acts
specifically on behalf of non-human animals.
Throughout the talk I will draw on the work of experts on
terrorism generally (such as politics professor Anne Aly) and “eco-terrorism”
specifically (such as sociologist Carol Glasser and journalist Will Potter), as
well as some hip hop music. I will make the case that “eco-terrorism” is not an
appropriate label for acts that break the law on behalf of non-human animals
while ensuring that no physical harm is inflicted on either human or non-human
animals. I will also challenge whether “terrorism” is even a useful term to use
anymore, considering the widespread misuse of the term by
the state and corporations.
Pendergrast has taught Sociology for many years, lecturing on a wide range of topics, including the social
construction of terrorism. He currently teaches Sociology at the University of Melbourne.
He has a PhD in Sociology and his thesis applied
theories on social movements and organisations to the animal advocacy movement. He has also had many years of
experience as an animal advocate, as well as
being active in other social movements. He co-hosts the social justice podcast Progressive Podcast Australia
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